Welcome to my website and blog! The photo above is in reference to my subtitle for this page, Steter Tropfen höhlt den Stein, one of my favorite expressions in German and a personal philosophy. This is my first entry and therefore will serve as a kind of introduction. My friend and fellow small-business owner Lauren Bowen, who built this website for me, recommended that I keep a blog (and Twitter account) to enhance my business. Initially these seemed somewhat daunting endeavors, as I'm much more of an interpreter (who speaks) than a translator (who writes). Nevertheless, herein I intend to write, tweet, and share on topics relevant to the world of interpretation (and occasionally translation).
Since this is a fairly wide scope, my focus will be more towards aspiring, beginning, and student interpreters. Why? First and foremost, because this is what I am. Secondly, because over the years I've found no dearth of online material from seasoned interpreters, who seem to already have at least five working languages, have breezed through the Federal Court Interpreter Exam, and are running successful, well-established businesses (please read with a wink, nudge and slight hyperbole).
I'd like to share here the nitty gritty of what I've done and where I've been in order to acquire, hone, and maintain my language skills. I'd like to share current stories of life on the job as a community and medical interpreter. I'd like to share my aspirations of where I seek to advance with my career, and how I am in the process of achieving said aspirations, from a professional and linguistic standpoint. If any of this sounds like valuable information to you, please continue reading and feel free to contribute in the comments in you feel so inclined.
If you've browsed my website already, you may have read the About Me section. This provides a brief biography in an entrepreneurial, professional light. If you're an interpreter reading this blog, let me reframe things like this: currently I work as a full-time (i.e., my only source of income) Spanish medical, social service, and community interpreter in Spokane, Washington and the surrounding area. How did I arrive at my current state?
Well, first of all, I did not grow up speaking any of my working languages. I began studying Spanish in high school in the US, spent my final year of school as an exchange student in Germany, and then completed a four-year BA in French, German, and Spanish from a Welsh university. As part of my studies, I spent a semester in Spain at the Department of Translation and Interpretation at the University of Granada and a semester in Austria at the Centre for Translations Studies of the University of Vienna. In Spain, my language combination was English A, Spanish B, and German C. In Austria, it was English A, German B, Spanish C. It was at this time that I began interpreting, after a long-standing interest in the art and profession. Because of my early exposure to German and academic experience with Spanish, I had no trouble keeping up with the European interpreting students in Granada and Vienna.
Besides my time in Spain, I have only traveled briefly to parts of Latin American. My total time spent in Spanish-speaking countries is less than 12 months. Part of the question that had always plagued me was something along the lines of, "How can I possibly compete with the language skills of people who grew up bilingual, or people who have been immersed in and speaking their foreign languages for decades?" I'm slowly but surely realizing that this is indeed very possible. This is perhaps an issue to be expounded on later. Long story short, please take heart from a guy in his twenties who grew up in a monolingual city that is 84% white, and who at least has one foot in the interpreting door.
Thank you for your interested and please stay tuned for more!